At today’s (Saturday 11 June) Annual General Meeting of the Football Conference Limited, the member Clubs unanimously approved the Constitution of the Competition.

This followed the unanimous decision of the Board to expel Rushden & Diamonds Football Club from the Football Conference under Article 5.2 of its Articles of Association.

The Club had admitted various breaches of the Rules of the Football Conference, including not paying numerous football creditors, failing to respond to correspondence and failing to comply with instructions from the Board regarding its debts and its plans for the future.

Based on information provided by the Club, it is clear that it has significant financial problems.    Among other things, it owes several hundred thousand pounds to creditors, including substantial sums to football creditors and HM Revenue & Customs and in a few days time, faces the hearing of a winding-up petition supported by HMRC.

The Board explored matters fully with the Club and its representatives in an attempt to resolve issues satisfactorily for the Football Conference and the Club and to ensure payment of creditors.

The Club was given until the last possible moment to make proper arrangements to pay the most pressing of creditors, namely those supporting the winding-up petition and football creditors (understood to be approximately £350,000), but it has not done so.

The Board has no confidence in the Club’s ability to pay its creditors or as to its ongoing viability or its ability to meet its obligations in the forthcoming Season, and in order to preserve the integrity of the Competition, it was with regret that the Board considered it had no alternative but to expel Rushden & Diamonds F.C.

The consequences of this decision for the Constitution are that Southport F.C. retain its membership of the Premier Division;    Thurrock F.C. retains its membership of Conference South and Bishop’s Stortford F.C. is transferred from Conference South to Conference North on a geographical basis.

While Bishop’s Stortford’s transfer is far from ideal, it is simply the result of the relevant regulation governing such placement.